GIZMETTE by Bernadette Jones and Alan Marsh, directed by Jones, with Tammy Isbell, Gord Rand and Susanne Schneider. Presented by Theatreworks at the Alumnae (70 Berkeley). Runs to June 7, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2:30 pm. $22, Sunday pwyc. 416-504-7529. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
ignore the modest set-on-a-small- budget and the slightly melodramatic script turns, and Gizmette offers an entertaining look at the troubling effects of technology on human relationships.Dave (Gord Rand) is a reclusive, unhealthy techno-geek who's holed up in his surveillance-friendly apartment with his silver-suited companion robot (Susanna Schneider, whose movements are so eerily precise you'll think she really is an android).
When Dave finds a lost cellphone, the phone's harried owner - a neighbour being stalked by an ex-boyfriend (enter movie-of-the-week melodrama) - seeks refuge at Dave's apartment while also helping to humanize the robot, now nicknamed Gizmette.
Director Bernadette Jones is competent - she moves people and things around efficiently - but lacks imagination. Her script (she co-wrote it with Alan Marsh) could also use some humour.
Still, the pair are helped by Rand's well-thought-out portrayal of a man more comfortable with machines than humans. His Dave is so emotionally shut off, he's almost pathological in his introversion and only warms up with the lesson of his more gregarious (if unbelievable) neighbour.
The fine use of video footage helps create a world that, despite its flaws, offers a timely message to our increasingly techno-saturated world.